Scientists from Europe and the United States have announced that they have detected the first radioactive molecule in space, namely an isotope of aluminum (aluminium), 26AI, which does not exist on Earth. The molecule exploded in the mesothelial space after two stars.
Observation of the molecule – with the help of the ALMA and NOEMA radio telescopes – took place in the enigmatic new CK Vulpeculae, also known as Nova Vul 1670, about 2,000 light years from Earth, the explosion of which was first observed in Europe between 1670 and 1772.
The researchers, led by astronomer Thomas Kaminski of the American Center for Astrophysics Harvard-Smithsonian, made the relevant publication in the Astronomy Magazine “Nature Astronomy”.
The vivid CK Vul star in the constellation of Vulpecula has become known as the location where a 17th century European astronomers observed a Nova explosion. In 2013, modern astronomers observed a molecular cloud of a very unusual synthesis in the remnant of the old blast explosion and began to study it.
The study of the phenomenon revealed that it was in fact a very rare and spectacular merger of two stars like the Sun, the conflict of which was perceived on Earth as the creation of a new star, a “red nova”.
Now, 348 years after the first observation, at that point – where the remnants of the conflict remain (a light star surrounded by an array of glowing materials) – the first unstable radioactive space molecule, the 26th clay, which is at the core of 13 protons and 13 neutrons and is also present together with fluorine atoms, forming an isotope of aluminum monofluoride (26AIF). The decomposition of the radioactive isotope of aluminum (26Al) results in a more stable magnesium isotope (26Mg).
This detection leads astronomers to the realization that in a stellar conflict even the deeper and denser layers of a star can eventually be exposed to space. Scientists have estimated for decades that about two astronomical masses of the 26AA radioactive molecule are scattered in our galaxy, but its origin – beyond its creation in stellar mergers – is unclear.